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- Best meditation app: Calm
- Best journal: The Anti-Anxiety Notebook
- Best activity: Anxiety Relief Adult Coloring Book
- Best essential oil: Eden Botanicals French Lavender Essential Oil
- Best comfort tool: Warmies
- Best fidget toy for kids and teens: Speks Geode Magnetic Fidget Set
- Best book for babies and young kids: The ABCs of Calm
Anxiety conditions are very common, though exact statistics vary.
In the United States, 15.6% of adults reported mild to severe anxiety symptoms in 2019, according to a
Anxiety narrows your focus onto perceived threats, which can include anything that worries or frightens you in the moment, explains Dr. Jill Stoddard, the founding director of The Center for Stress & Anxiety Management, an outpatient clinic in San Diego.
Fixating on these worries can then begin to affect your focus and memory, says Stoddard, who also teaches psychology at Alliant International University and co-authored “The Big Book of ACT Metaphors.”
What’s more, if you have trouble accepting uncertainty, or the fact you can’t control all possible outcomes, you might respond by avoiding the source of your worries, or trying to establish a greater sense of control. But both of these can end up increasing anxiety in the long run, Stoddard says.
Although anxiety can weave its way into your hobbies, everyday responsibilities, and relationships, you can do a lot to cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Our picks for the nine best tools to manage anxiety can get you started.
In trying to manage your symptoms, you might have already spent some time searching for anxiety tools online — only to find pages upon pages of products that claim to help banish anxiety and improve your daily life.
To choose the most helpful products for you, we:
- took a deep dive to find tools either developed by medical professionals or supported by research
- read customer reviews to learn whether these products actually worked for real people
- chose products from a variety of price points to ensure you’d have options, no matter your budget
- $ = under $15
- $$ = $13–$30
- $$$ = over $30
Best meditation app
- Price: $$$
- Why we chose it: popular app with over 100 million downloads
- Who it’s best for: people interested in starting or deepening a meditation practice
Many people living with anxiety symptoms find mindfulness techniques a helpful way to manage distress in the moment.
Calm, an award-winning mindfulness app, is an option to consider. This app features hundreds of calming exercises, breathing techniques, and guided stretches, plus sleep stories narrated by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey and Harry Styles.
Since its launch in 2012, Calm has received over 700,000 5-star reviews for its ease of use and variety of offerings. While it does require a paid subscription to use, it’s more affordable than other meditation platforms. Calm also offers a 14-day free trial, as well as family plans and a student discount.
- easy to use
- variety of meditations for various goals, like sleep or general mindfulness
- affordable price point
- meditation reminders sent to your phone or tablet
- not everyone enjoys the nature sounds
- some reviewers found the sleep stories too long
- you have to pay to use it
- Price: $$$
- Why we chose it: developed collaboratively by clinicians, researchers, and writers specifically for anxiety
- Who it’s best for: people interested in journaling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Created specifically for people with anxiety, this CBT-based journal features prompts, exercises, and tips from therapists to help you become more aware of the relationship between your thoughts and your feelings.
For instance, you’ll find breathing exercises, examples of cognitive distortions, and a Feelings Wheel. You’ll also find structured pages for your journal entries where you can describe what happened, your related thoughts and emotions, and space to consider how you could respond in the future.
- 4.9 out of 5 stars rating from customers
- utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and other trusted techniques for anxiety
- developed by mental health professionals
- promotes self-discovery and growth
- doesn’t replace talk therapy
- may not help if you dislike journaling
- Price: $
- Why we chose it: unique designs provide a calming, creative activity
- Who it’s best for: people who want to try a relaxing, brain-friendly hobby
Adult coloring books have gained popularity in recent years, especially as more people try to reduce their screen time and find activities that both help ease anxiety and promote relaxation.
This 124-page coloring book is a top seller on Amazon, with thousands of positive reviews. It features a variety of natural and abstract designs, from flowers and animals to mandalas and paisley patterns.
Many reviewers praise the quality and detail of the designs and say coloring helped relax them and take their mind off their worries.
- easy screen-free activity
- fun, unique designs
- some reviewers say their ink bled through the thin paper
- pages lack perforations for easy removal
Best essential oil
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: lavender may help relieve anxiety
- Who it’s best for: people wanting to try aromatherapy or self-massage
This French lavender essential oil from Eden Botanicals only has a handful of reviews from customers, but people overwhelmingly praise its fragrance, calling it “comforting,” “uplifting,” and “mellow and smooth.” The brand is also an editor favorite.
- pure essential oil, not isolate or mixture
- may help ease tension or stress
- highly rated by customers
- one person wished the scent lasted longer
Best comfort tool
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: trusted company that’s made quality comfort and heating products for 25 years
- Who it’s best for: people who find soft, warm textures comforting
Named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2022, Warmies are stuffed animals you can warm up as a comforting, cuddly tool for easing stress and anxiety.
Warmies come in a variety of animals, like sloth, fox, alpaca, and dog, and different sizes for babies and kids. Plus, each Warmies animal is infused with French lavender for extra calming effects. They can also double as a heating pad for aches, pains, and cramps.
Prefer to cool off? You can also put them in the refrigerator. Just make sure your fridge is clean, or seal them into a plastic bag.
- variety of cute animals to choose from
- can be heated or cooled
- made in the U.S.
- highly rated by customers
- must have a microwave to heat them up
- surface/spot clean only
Best fidget toy for kids and teens
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: helps relieve stress and improve focus
- Who it’s best for: kids and teens who need something to do with their hands
Speks’ magnetic geode sets give kids and teens something to do with their hands. Focusing on something tangible doesn’t just help with the need to fidget. It can also help ease feelings of anxiety and stress and encourage creativity.
You can build many different shapes with these fidget toys or combine multiple geodes to make even more intricate creations.
While they make great desk tools, you can easily store them in a bag or backpack and take them on the go.
- overwhelmingly positive user reviews
- comes in a variety of bright colors
- small pieces may get lost easily
Best book for babies and young kids
- Price: $
- Why we chose it: cute read for kids, with great reminders for parents
- Who it’s best for: babies, toddlers, and young children
Written by occupational therapist and yoga instructor Brooke Backsen, this board book makes a great addition to your family library. It teaches ABCs and offers guidance to help teach self-care, social-emotional skills, and the importance of mental health from a young age.
This book also offers a gentle overall message of calm and mindfulness that may help ground and soothe parents reading to their children.
- written by an occupational therapist
- teaches social and emotional skills
- colorful images that appeal to kids
- may be too simplistic for kids 5+ years
|Product||Superlative||Price||Why we chose it||Who it’s best for|
|Calm||best meditation app||$$$||popular app with over 100 million downloads||people interested in starting or deepening a meditation practice|
|The Anti-Anxiety Notebook||best journal||$$$||developed collaboratively by clinicians, researchers, and writers specifically for anxiety||people interested in journaling and CBT|
|Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Designs||best activity||$||unique designs provide a calming, creative activity||people who want to try a relaxing hobby|
|Eden Botanicals Essential Oil, French Lavender||best essential oil||$$||lavender may help ease anxiety||people wanting to try aromatherapy to alleviate anxiety|
|Warmies||best comfort tool||$$||trusted company that has made quality comfort and heating products for 25 years||people who find soft, warm textures comforting|
|Speks Geode Magnetic Fidget Set||best fidget toy for kids and teens||$$||helps with stress and focus||kids and teens who need something to do with their hands|
|The ABCs of Calm||best book for babies and young kids||$||cute read for kids — with great reminders for parents||babies, toddlers, and younger kids|
Taking some time to consider your specific anxiety symptoms and self-care needs can help you choose the most helpful items to manage or reduce your anxiety.
- If you need to quiet the chatter in your mind: Consider investing in a meditation cushion and a meditation app subscription so you can start a mindfulness practice. Or, you might opt for a coloring book so you can focus on something other than your thoughts.
- If you need comfort: Having a snuggly stuffed animal to cuddle or toy to fidget with may promote a sense of calm, ease restlessness, and help you feel more grounded.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping: Diffusing essential oil and sleeping under a weighted blanket could help you feel more settled and calm as you drift off.
- If you want to pinpoint your symptoms and change behavioral or thought patterns: Using a symptom tracker app and a journal can make it easier to name and explore your feelings.
In search of more tips to soothe anxious thoughts?
- Using your senses: When you practice mindfully using your senses to note what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, you can improve your attention and focus on the present moment more effectively.
- Practicing gratitude: You can move your focus away from your worries by taking a few moments each day to think back on — or jot down in your journal — a few things or people you appreciate.
- Accepting uncertainty: It’s impossible to anticipate or prepare for all possible circumstances — and in some situations, you may not want to. For instance, when you read a book or watch a sports game, the anticipation can add excitement. Extending this openness to uncertainty to your everyday life could make a difference.
- Facing your fears: Avoidance doesn’t work as a long-term strategy to manage anxiety. A better option lies in taking small steps to challenge and accept those things that inspire worry and dread. You might try moving out of your comfort zone one small step at a time to build mastery and confidence. A therapist can offer more guidance here.
- Defining your values: Identifying your core values — compassion, authenticity, friendship, and assertiveness, to name a few — can help you get more clarity on the things in life that really matter to you. Making choices in line with those values may not directly affect your anxiety, but it can add deeper meaning to your life, all the same.
You might also try:
- Practicing self-guided meditations that emphasize self-compassion.
- Finding your favorite relaxing sounds from the Stress Relief Collection.
- Exploring biofeedback therapy, which some people find an effective tool for managing anxiety. You can use the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BICA) directory to find a certified practitioner near you.
Most people feel anxious from time to time, especially when facing a dreaded event or uncomfortable situation.
But chronic anxiety is something else entirely. Anxiety that persists after a trigger goes away, or happens without any specific trigger, can suggest an anxiety condition.
If you continually feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed, a good next step involves reaching out to a mental health professional, in person or online. It’s particularly important to reach out for support if you’ve felt anxious most days for at least 6 months, and these feelings have started to disrupt your everyday life, relationships, and overall health.
A therapist or other healthcare professional may recommend therapy, medication, or a combination to help treat your symptoms. They may also suggest various lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, making time to exercise, and getting enough sleep.
What is the healthiest way to deal with anxiety?
The healthiest way to deal with anxiety involves working with a trusted mental health professional, like a therapist or psychiatrist, to take steps to identify anxiety triggers and find helpful coping strategies. The tools and lifestyle changes mentioned above can further support your care plan.
Does the 333 rule work for anxiety?
The 333 rule is a technique for coping with anxiety that you can try right now.
When you feel anxious, first name three things you can see within your immediate surroundings. Then, name three sounds you can hear. Next, move three parts of your body, like your fingers, feet, and head.
Can you be healthy and still have anxiety?
Yes. In general, feeling anxious doesn’t make you unhealthy, especially if you don’t have chronic anxiety. Even an anxiety disorder diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean you’re not healthy.
It’s important, though, to take steps to improve your mental health, which might include talk therapy and adjustments to your daily routine, like getting regular physical activity and enough sleep every night.
Tools and products designed to help ease feelings of anxiety can’t replace therapy and other treatment from a trained mental health professional or doctor.
That said, many anxiety tools can do a lot to help you manage overwhelming feelings in the moment and find a sense of calm.
Just know that if your anxiety symptoms begin to disrupt your daily life, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional for more support.